In the United States, where it’s not easy to promote Buddhism, everyone should take on the responsibility of propagation, in order to cause the Buddha Dharma to flourish.
Where should we start? In my opinion, we should start with education. If you simply speak the Dharma, you can’t plant the roots. You have to work on education, to transmit the spirit of Buddhism thoroughly into children’s minds. Only when they understand the principles of Buddhism and practice them in society, stopping all evil and cultivating all good, can the roots of Buddhism be planted. Chinese Buddhism ignored this point in the past. People only spoke the Dharma and expounded the Sutras, without knowing to guide the children the profound and wonderful teaching of Buddhism. This is why whenever there were catastrophes, they almost destroyed Buddhism. If children are able to understand the teachings, when they grow up they can promote it. This is one thing all Buddhists must pay attention to. Don’t let the focus of everything you see, hear, and talk about be solely on making a fortune, which is of no benefit to Buddhism. Everyone of us must take the responsibility for educating people to understand the Dharma. This is an important matter.
In Their Fight for Profits, People Ignore Education
In American society today, men are out for money, and women go for money,too. They forget about children‘s education and think that they will learn what they should at school. However, at school, children often become worse. They become less obedient day by day. Teachers and parents lose contact with the teachers and the students’ subjects. Teachers tell the students that the most successful peopleare those who can make a lot of money. To be first in the world, you have to rebel at home and knock your parents down, if the teachers instigate the children’s disobedidence to their parents at home; it would be better if one does not go to this kind of school!
Everyone should voluntarily take responsibility. What kind of responsibility? We who have knowledge and wisdom, but who go towork in the daytime should volunteer some time at night for education, at a school or at home. To do this voluntarily means you don’t seek for a reward or a salary. You fulfill your responsibility at school or at home to teach the next generation well. Only when the next generation is taught properly can blessings for the world be attained. If the next generation has not been taught well, then it will be like here in America, where juvenile deliquents are all over. Children are bold enough to kill, set fires, and rob, which happens every day.
Especially in Los Angeles, people feel in peril and their life is insecure, because someday with one shot they might be killed. People die from shootings maybe even more than from the war in Iraq. What made this happen? It’s simply because people ignore education and value money, and because money is the priority to attain, people don’t have enough education. Particularly now, not only do men work for money, women do too, who demand equality and freedom. Children then are ignored by those parents. In a nursery school or a kindergarden, children are influenced by improper things. In this way, morality falls lower and lower, worse and worse, generation after generation. And it’s all because of neglect of education!
Why has the moral code of the world become degraded and people become so upside-downed, day after day? The fundamental reason is because people fight for “profits.” Seeking for profits causes education to be neglected. The universities compete among themselves for the greatest number of students in order to get more profit. Whether they can educate good students is not their concern. The significance of education is lost. Moreover, education encourages students to become dissipated, liberal, free, and frivolous. Students have lost their principles of being human. Education carries no significance.
Because of the concern for profit, some teachers ask for salary raises. Sometimes teachers go on strike, using the youth to gamble, to threaten society. Why so? Again, it is for benefit. The whole society loses the basic concepts, and ideals and has gone to the branch-tips (i.e. gone astray). Therefore the world has become chaotic. Education is not like education and the students are not like students anymore. All because of profits. Ah! This harm has caused the whole world’s populace to “live drunk and die dreaming.” They know nothing about morality, humaness and righteousness. People fail to understand filial piety, brotherhood, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety. Men don’t have integrity, honor and repentance.
Especially in America, parents are capable of giving birth to children, but aren’t able to raise them well. Children grow up unrestrained, and do everything at their own will --- even killing and setting fires. Just like that person from Chicago, at four of age he set a fire and caused many people to be killed; his parents thought that was good conduct! Liberal upbringing made him a head of underworld society, specializing in stealing. All of you just think how serious it is!
Promotion of Voluntary Teaching Without Pay
I am promoting that teachers should work voluntarily, of their own accord do as their wish, not fighting for salary raises, this one wanting money, that one wanting money, too. There is a teacher at the Sacred City of Ten Thousand Buddhas who has been living here over ten years. A Dharma Master introduced him to me, saying that this person was out of a job and that if he could stay at the City with room and board available, a little pocket money would do. After over ten years, seeing that teachers outside made some money, he formed a “gang of three” to ask for a salary raise. If their request had not been granted, he would have gone on a strike. See, because of money, he had the idea. What about those teachers coming from outside? In the past, I had to pay teachers for driving one or two hours to get here, for the time they prepared materials, for the time they watched students at school. Everything takes money. Money, money, money... “Money is something one cannot be apart from for a single moment.” This way, only spending without earning, the expenditures exceed the income. So I have to make the announcement that all teachers at our elementary and high schools teach as volunteers. Professors in our university, with more experience, will get some honorary allowance. Now the request for a salary raise is extinguished, and no strikes are heard ever again. This is the method, not a very logical one, that I thought out today.
When Bush campaigned for a second term as President, I saw he was too permissive and indecisive and would not be re-elected. However, I had a way to help him win the election. What was that? I told him to announce that if he were to be president again, he would not take the president’s salary and would donate it to the people. People in the White House investigated the principle in my letter for over a week and did not accept it. Eventually, he failed the campaign.
Though it is a time when demons are strong and the Dharma is weak, I felt that Bush had a hope. If he adopted my suggestion, I made it very clear in the letter that he would definitely win the campaign; if not, he would surely lose. As I predicted, he did not win because of money. This greatly affects the future of the United States. Now he is regretful that he did not listen to me, yet it is too late.